Company news: Covidien, GfK and Springer Science+Business Media

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Covidien said it plans to spin off its $2-billion pharmaceuticals business into a standalone public company. The business is one of the world's largest producers of bulk acetaminophen and is the largest US supplier of opioid pain medications, including Exalgo, launched in 2010. About two-thirds of sales are derived from the US market. Following a spin-off, which Covidien said could take about 18 months to complete, the resulting Covidien medical products business would have annual sales of about $9.6 billion, representing 80% of the firm's sales.

Research giant GfK said it is acquiring Knowledge Networks, a provider of digital research in the US. Terms were not disclosed. The company plans to combine Knowledge Networks' physician's consulting network panel with its own US healthcare panel, promising to improve access to difficult-to-reach specialists, including allied health professionals, such as dentists, NPs, PAs and surgical groups. Simon Kooyman, CEO of Knowledge Networks, will assume the role of chief operations officer of GfK Custom Research North America, pursuant to the deal.

Springer Science+Business Media signed a three-year agreement with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to become the exclusive supplier of reprints from articles published in ASCO's Journal of Clinical Oncology and Journal of Oncology Practice for areas including North and South America. Under the agreement, effective January 1, Springer will also represent licensing for the ASCO Annual Meeting abstracts and Educational Book, virtual meeting content, symposia proceedings patient materials and ASCO University—the society's online learning environment.

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